Loading Events

All Events »

Aspen Backcountry Marathon and Heavy Half

August 5, 2024

trail runner in aspen

Aspen Parks & Recreation presents the annual Aspen Backcountry Marathon and Heavy Half Marathon and offers two options available – you can choose to run on dirt trails through the beauty of Aspen on a Full Marathon or Half Marathon course. Both runs start at Rio Grande Park. The full marathon covers challenging trails with significant ascents and descents and is one of the Best Trail Running Events in the Rockies, in our opinion.

Event & Course Info

Each year, the race route changes direction and this year it will be heading clockwise, up Sunnyside and down Smuggler. Trails include Hunter Creek Trail, Lani White Trail, and BTS Trail. Many other trails and dirt roads across bridges lead to the single-track Rio Grande Trail to finish where it started, Rio Grande Park. There are five aid stations along the way with designated cut-off times for continued participation. The half marathon is about 14 miles and begins an hour later than full marathon runners. Taking off from the same location in Rio Grande Park, then turning onto Oklahoma Flats trail. Other trails on this route include Iowas Shaft, Lower Plunge Trail, and Rio Grande Trail to the finish line at the park. There are three aid stations along the way with cut-off times. The aid stations in this event are limited and each participant needs to feel comfortable being ultimately responsible for their own rescue and preparation for course and weather conditions. Also, the event prides itself on being cupless, so racers need to provide their own hydrations resources and food to stay fueled for the length of their course. Be sure to check out the official 2023 Race Guide for all of the nitty gritty details – it’s a race you’ll be bragging about for years to come, with spectacular views of the Elk Mountains above and the city of Aspen below.

The Aspen Backcountry Marathon and Heavy Half Marathon limits participation, so trail runners need to register as soon as possible! Registration includes Race Participation Cap and Timing Chips, with final food and drink celebration at the finish line where Awards are presented.

Area Accommodations & Things to Do

Aspen, Colorado, is a beautiful mountain resort town with many events annually. Aspen Parks & Registration site summarizes all events and provides lodging suggestions with discounts for this backcountry event; There area wide range of hotel options depending on your budget including the Limelight Hotel, The Gant, St. Moritz Hotel, and the W. There are also plenty of vacation rentals to explore if you prefer a more home-like experience. . In addition to hotels and resorts, participants can go camping or stay at RV Park nearby Coulter Creek, Willows on Coulter Creek, and RV Camp Site.

To celebrate a successful trial run, participants and supporters can try out several local restaurants in the area. Aspen boasts a culinary scene that beautifully marries its mountain heritage with upscale sophistication, offering a rich tapestry of gourmet eateries, rustic bistros, and innovative fusion restaurants that reflect the town’s blend of native tastes and global influences. The alpine resort town lures food enthusiasts with its array of seasonal farm-to-table dishes, decadent mountain comfort foods, and a plethora of international cuisines, all set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Rockies. Bosq and Betula are fine dining options in the heart of Aspen’s downtown area, while Meat & Cheese and Spring Cafe are two of our personal favorites for a casual bite. Hickory House is known to have an excellent BBQ, local to Colorado, and is a few blocks from downtown.

Aspen and the surrounding Roaring Fork Valley are a mecca for outdoor athletes participating in the event and supporting friends and family. For those who may want to do some warm up runs before the race or just leisurely hike, Aspen boasts an extensive network of scenic trails that cater to both trail runners and hikers. The area is renowned for its picturesque landscapes, including breathtaking mountain vistas, alpine meadows, and serene forests. Trails like the Maroon Bells Scenic Loop and Cathedral Lake Trail, are great ones to check out in addition to the trails that are part of the course loop. Aspen is a paradise for mountain biking enthusiasts, with a multitude of trails suitable for various skill levels. Riders can explore the renowned Snowmass Bike Park, which offers thrilling downhill trails and features like jumps, berms, and technical sections, while Government Trail, Tom Blake, and Skyline are local favorites. Road cyclists will also pinch themselves with the riding options right out of town, from taking on the challenge of climbing Independence Pass, riding to the ghost town of Ashcroft or to the stunning Maroon Bells. Lastly, with the Roaring Fork and Arkansas Rivers in close proximity, whitewater rafting and kayaking are also top favorite summertime activities for those that love exploring the outdoors.

Related Events

Other great trail running events in Aspen/Snowmass area include Audi Power of Four Trail in July and Golden Leaf Half Marathon in September. For the multi-sport athletes out there, be sure to put the Snowmass 50 on your bucket list as it is also local and is one of the Best Mountain Bike Events in Colorado and the Rockies, and be sure to return in the winter for the prestigious Power of Four skimo race. Keep your eyes out for new Strambecco best in class road and gravel cycling events coming to the area.

View Reviews (0)

Leave a Review

Your email address will not be published.